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What’s The Verdict On Diet Tonic Water: Yay Or Nay?

tonic water

Gin cocktails are everywhere, and unsurprisingly, vodka, whisky and beer haven’t witnessed ‘ginaissance’ on such a scale. In the last few years, gin consumption has risen substantially, and it is mostly due to the rise in interest in the cocktail known as Gin And Tonic. G&T has millions of fans today and the drink has become a preferred cocktail for dinner parties and post-dinner scenes.

While the sophisticated flavour of gin is receiving the attention it deserves, tonic water, its famous partner in the G&T has also got the spotlight, where all its pros and cons have been dissected to bits. Mixologists and even scientists have unearthed the history of tonic water, its various preparation methods, and also the nutrient value of the fizzy liquid.

Is Regular Tonic Water Healthy?

Turns out mass-manufactured tonic water has far deviated from the original recipe. which mostly had a medicinal value due to quinine. Today, tonic water has as much sugar as soft drinks. The manufacturers add a high amount of sugar to mask the bitterness of quinine, the key compound that provides tonic water with its bitter flavour. Sometimes, they use high-fructose corn syrup to add sweetness to the mixer. But even corn syrup isn't a healthier substitute as it has high amounts of sugar. 

For many tonic water brands available in the market, the term 'tonic water' wouldn't apply to them at all, as their manufacturing process varies a lot from the original recipes. These drinks start as carbonated water, to which quinine and sugar or sweetener in any form is added. But as we know today, high consumption of sugar increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. 

Healthier Substitutes For Tonic Water

Nowadays, diet tonic water or low-calorie tonic water or zero-calorie tonic water products are available. They most likely use aspartame and saccharin or other calorie-free sweeteners instead of sugar. However, their health impacts have been a topic of debate among nutritionists. Diet tonic water or low-calorie tonic water also has a likelihood of having a high sodium content. Too much sodium in your body can cause high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

tonic water

So, what kind of tonic water substitute is healthier?

- Some brands use smaller amounts of sugar, at times almost 50% less sugar in their tonic water. The bitterness in such tonic water brands is evident and they also are a better mixer for alcoholic beverages.

- Consumers can always check the nutrition in low-calorie tonic water before buying, keeping an eye out for excess sugar and sodium content.

- You can also make tonic water at home, as it does not have a complicated process nor does it need too many exotic ingredients. If you’re wondering, yes we do have a post on how to make your own tonic water as well! Thus, you can control the amount of sugar and sodium that goes into its preparation.

- You can also choose to substitute tonic water with seltzer, which is basically carbonated water. Just add a squeeze of lemon and a few bitters to enhance its flavour.

Just as fast foods and soft drinks, it is good to be watchful of cocktail accompaniments and ingredients. Today, there are plenty of healthier substitutes for many ingredients as well as DIY methods to make them at home. So, make a choice that keeps you safe from diseases in the long run.

While it's great to learn about making alcoholic beverages, it is important to also consume alcohol moderately. Remember to serve and drink responsibly to ensure you and your guests are healthy and out of harm's way. If you know anyone who has trouble controlling their alcohol intake, please refer them to a professional immediately.